To me, this kind of sultry, sunny weather is perfect for hanging out on the deck with a bunch of burgers, house-special agave margaritas, and friends/neighbors.
To Do: 1) Make burgers and margaritas. 2) Install a deck. 3) Invite friends/neighbors.
And, of course, this is assuming you like your neighbors. I gotta say, ours are pretty great. We live in a young neighborhood full of friendly families and funny kids. These kids love to motor their Big Wheels (still a hit in 2012, who would've thought?) up and down the cul-de-sac, and chase each other across the adjoining backyards. Highly entertaining.
This weekend, these funny neighborhood kids rang my doorbell and sold me the first edition of the Acorn Gazette, a 6-page "newspaper" that they wrote, took photographs for, assembled, and tied together with dental floss all on their own.
Let me tell you what made this week's news in our 'hood, people.
"Recently, there has been a piece of poop found in the Koester's yard and has been there for a long time. See below a picture of the poop found in their yard." (Oh yes, there's a picture.) "It is probably their dog Phineaus' poop. More and more are found over time. They should be vanishing but are not. The reason remains a mystery."
"A person has been constantly walking near the Wang's house. The fact that a person is walking by your house every day is slightly annoying due to the fact that they might be SPYING on you. I should say, eavesdropping. Here is a picture of the person." (Grainy, black and white Big Foot sighting-type picture.) "Anyone who knows who this person is should contact 116 Country Lane because of the reason above."
"Our reporters have sighted a lot of injuries on Country Lane. Here is one of the major accidents." (A photo of two of the kids reenacting a head-on Big Wheels collision.) "Fortunately, neither rider was injured but did create quite a shock. What caused the crash? Now that's the mystery".
And this was just the mystery section! The gardening section is complete with "perfect examples" of the neighborhood landscaping.
You guys, I'm in love with this. This is straight out of The Burbs. Clearly, I need to watch where I step, be mindful of spies, get better at looking both ways when I back out of my driveway, and work our garden up to neighborhood standards. We didn't make the cut, and apparently people are paying attention.
I wonder what would make the cut? I got these fajita turkey burgers with avocado salsa and oven-baked sweet potato fries. Any takers? These burgers and fries are an ultra-healthy spin on your typical backyard barbecue menu. They're perfect for casual dining on a hot summer evening, and probably a major hit with the neighborhood
And when my cooking gets featured in the Acorn Gazette, I'll know I've arrived. You'll be the first to know.
Fajita Turkey Burgers
Sweet Potato Fries
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Yields 4 servings
1-2 large sweet potatoes, washed and cut into matchsticks
Several shakes of cinnamon
Several shakes of chili powder
1/4 c bottled salsa
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
1 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 c onion, finely chopped
1/2 c green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 c red bell pepper, finely chopped
1-1/2 tsp low-sodium fajita or taco seasoning, divided
1 tbs tomato paste
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg white
1/4 c panko breadcrumbs
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Lay the sweet potato fries on the sheet in a single layer, and sprinkle with the cinnamon and chili powder. Bake for about 45 minutes, shaking halfway though.
Meanwhile, combine the salsa, avocado, and cilantro in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray. Add the onion and bell peppers, and saute 5 minutes or until tender.
Stir in 1/2 tsp of the fajita seasoning. Let cool enough to handle.
Combine the onion mixture, tomato paste, turkey, egg white, breadcrumbs, and remaining 1 tsp of the fajita seasoning in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until all combined.
Heat a grill over medium-high heat. Divide the turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Cook the turkey burgers 4 minutes on each side, or until done. Place 1 patty on the bottom half of each bun, top with 1-1/2 tbs of the salsa mixture, and top with the remaining halves of the buns. Serve with sweet potatoes.